NEWS -- SEAN SPICER has launched RIGWIL LLC, a strategic consulting firm that is focused on advising corporate and trade association executives. The former White House press secretary recently hired Kay Foley as his chief of staff. Spicer said he does not plan to lobby. He also declined to comment on specific clients he is representing.
SPOTTED: Steve Bannon chatting with tourists on the streets of Rome.
LOTS OF KOREAN PENINSULA UPDATES, via today’s pooler, Caitlin Huey-Burns …
-- STATEMENT FROM SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: “Since the President’s May 24th letter, the North Koreans have been engaging. The United States continues to actively prepare for President Trump’s expected summit with leader Kim in Singapore.”
-- JAPANESE P.M. SHINZO ABE will come to the White House next Thursday ahead of the potential North Korean summit.
-- SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO is meeting with Kim Yong Chol, a senior North Korean official, in New York this week.
-- THE U.S. DELEGATION meeting with the North Koreans in the DMZ includes: Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines; Allison Hooker of the NSC; and Randy Schriver of the Pentagon. Joe Hagin is in Singapore to prep for the summit.
Good Tuesday afternoon. MITT ON TRUMP … ROMNEY speaks with former Romney Rambler, GARRETT HAAKE of NBC NEWS … “I don’t think that I would point to the president as a role model for my grandkids on the basis of his personal style. He has departed in some cases from the truth, and has attacked in a way that I think is not entirely appropriate. I think that his policies have been by and large a good deal better than I might have expected. But some of the things he has said are not ones that I would aspire for my grandkids to adopt.” Video http://bit.ly/2sijmFv
SOUNDS LIKE A STRATEGY PAUL RYAN AND MITCH MCCONNELL COULD GET BEHIND! -- @realDonaldTrump at 7:27 a.m.: “Sorry, I’ve got to start focusing my energy on North Korea Nuclear, bad Trade Deals, VA Choice, the Economy, rebuilding the Military, and so much more, and not on the Rigged Russia Witch Hunt that should be investigating Clinton/Russia/FBI/Justice/Obama/Comey/Lynch etc.”
… MORE TWEETS -- at 6:07 a.m.: “Democrats mistakenly tweet 2014 pictures from Obama’s term showing children from the Border in steel cages. They thought it was recent pictures in order to make us look bad, but backfires. Dems must agree to Wall and new Border Protection for good of country...Bipartisan Bill!”
… at 6:30 a.m.: “We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea. Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more. Kim Young Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!” He also sent out several tweets slamming the special counsel’s investigation, alleging without evidence that they “will be MEDDLING with the mid-term elections,” and a tweet bashing the media.
DON’T CALL IT A TRADE WAR! -- “Trump moves forward with investment restrictions, tariffs against China,” by Megan Cassella: “President Donald Trump is moving ahead with steps to protect U.S. intellectual property by punishing China with broad investment restrictions, litigation at the World Trade Organization and hefty tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.
“The move, which the White House announced Tuesday morning, comes just over a week after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the trade war between the two countries was ‘on hold’ and will ratchet up tensions just before Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is set to arrive in Beijing this week for further talks.” https://politi.co/2xnhoIV
THE NEXT RELIGIOUS FRONTIER -- “Pompeo to gather ‘like-minded’ allies on religious freedom,” by Nahal Toosi: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will host a gathering of ‘like-minded’ foreign counterparts later this summer to brainstorm ways to advance the cause of religious freedom around the world.
“The event, slated for July 25-26 in Washington, will likely please evangelical Christians who support President Donald Trump, many of whom worry about the persecution of Christians abroad. But it also raises questions about the Republican administration’s sincerity on the issue, given the president’s campaign pledge to bar Muslims from U.S. soil.
“Pompeo announced plans for the gathering on Tuesday as he unveiled the State Department’s annual report on global religious freedom. He described the ministerial meeting as the first of its kind. ‘It will not just be a discussion group. It will be about action,’ Pompeo vowed. ‘We look forward to identifying concrete ways to push back against persecution and ensure greater respect for religious freedom for all.’” https://politi.co/2L7gti3
THE HURRICANES’ AFTERMATH -- “‘People just give up’: Low-income hurricane victims slam federal relief programs,” by Danny Vinik in Houston: “The challenges in Kashmere Gardens [a neighborhood in Houston] -- where two-thirds of the residents are black and the median income is $23,000 per year -- are not the result of any one policy or agency. They’re the consequence of a complicated, bureaucratic disaster-response system built up over decades that experts nearly universally agree is failing to provide critical support to low-income, minority communities when catastrophe strikes. …
“A POLITICO investigation found that numerous low-income families were denied funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency because much of Kashmere Gardens was in a flood zone, and homeowners were thus required to carry flood insurance — a law that many of them were unaware of. Other families, struggling with language issues and inexperienced with the federal bureaucracy, simply couldn’t cope with a system that even FEMA officials agree is too complicated. Still others fell victim to shoddy contractors who took their money and failed to make repairs.” https://politi.co/2xmQ4L0
-- “Harvard study estimates thousands died in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria,” by WaPo’s Arelis R. Hernández and Laurie McGinley: ”At least 4,645 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria and its devastation across Puerto Rico last year, according to a new Harvard study released Tuesday, an estimate that far exceeds the official government death toll, which stands at 64.” https://wapo.st/2xkRVA4
STAFFING UP -- “Bolton adds two loyalists to the National Security Council,” by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins: “Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis have both been hired as senior directors for communications for the National Security Council, [a] source told CNN. Tinsley will be filling a role left vacant by Michael Anton, who stepped down earlier this year after [John] Bolton’s predecessor, H.R. McMaster, was fired. … Both previously worked for Bolton -- Tinsley for the John Bolton political action committee and Marquis as his spokesman.” https://cnn.it/2J12M3y
STEPHEN MILLER PROFILE -- MCKAY COPPINS in The Atlantic, “Trump’s Right-Hand Troll”: “Inside the White House, Miller has emerged as a staunch ideologue and an immigration hawk championing an agenda of right-wing nationalism. But people who have known him at different points in his life say his political worldview is also rooted in a deep-seated instinct for trolling. … But if any slur or slander can be excused as ironic under the guise of combating political correctness, it becomes all but impossible to distinguish genuine extremists from those impersonating them for effect.
“According to the Anti-Defamation League, incidents of white-supremacist propaganda at colleges increased by 258 percent from the fall of 2016 to the fall of 2017. … [The] question, of how seriously to take Miller, carried over into his interactions with women -- like when he approached a woman on campus who he knew disliked his politics and, apropos of nothing, said, ‘You and I would make beautiful babies together.’ Women who knew him told me they saw such remarks as escalations in his endless quest to provoke.” https://theatln.tc/2ISlRZv
THE GOP FARM TEAM -- “The Right-Wing Millennial Machine: Conservatives are building an army of fired-up young people. How? By offering them salaries,” by HuffPost’s Michael Hobbes: “‘The Republicans are building an army, while the Democrats are still paying you in “making the world a better place,”’’ said Carlos Vera, the executive director of Pay Our Interns, a watchdog group. …
“Vera spent last year calling every lawmaker in the House and Senate and asking whether they paid their interns. His report, Experience Doesn’t Pay the Bills, found that more than half of Republican senators offered paid internships, compared to fewer than a third of Democratic senators. In the House it was even worse: Twice as many Republicans as Democrats paid their interns.
“This year, Vera has been calling nonprofits and think tanks and asking them the same thing. So far he’s found the same pattern: Fox News, the Cato Institute and Americans for Prosperity pay their interns. The Progressive Policy Institute, Let America Vote and the Human Rights Campaign don’t. …
“Though harder to quantify than political donations, it appears that conservatives have built a recruitment, retention and leadership development apparatus that dwarfs that of the left. The Charles Koch Institute has an ‘associates program’ that places young professionals in conservative think tanks and pays an average of $41,000 per year. The Leadership Institute, a conservative youth organization, offers interns free accommodation, free food, an $825-per-month stipend and a $200 ‘book allowance.’” http://bit.ly/2xpWqcu
OP-ED DU JOUR -- Former Illinois Gov. ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D) WRITING FROM PRISON, in WSJ: “So today from prison, I am warning all candidates and elected officials to watch out. This new, lesser standard used against me to infer a quid pro quo can now be used against you, too. And the U.S. Supreme Court’s failure to take up this issue means the lesser standard has been accepted as law. The justices’ denial last month of my appeal request is catastrophic for me, and it will in all likelihood prove calamitous to some of you. Politically motivated prosecutors can now interfere with and undo free and fair elections.” https://on.wsj.com/2xn8uLv
IF YOU READ ONE THING -- “Origins of an Epidemic: Purdue Pharma Knew Its Opioids Were Widely Abused,” by NYT’s Barry Meier: “A confidential Justice Department report found the company was aware early on that OxyContin was being crushed and snorted for its powerful narcotic, but continued to promote it as less addictive.” https://nyti.ms/2kC98eN
VALLEY TALK -- “Papua New Guinea Is Banning Facebook For A Month,” by BuzzFeed’s Pranav Dixit https://bzfd.it/2xmigO1
MEDIAWATCH -- “Shari Redstone Alleges CBS CEO Threatened to Quit If Board Didn’t Strip Redstones of Control,” by WSJ’s Keach Hagey and Joe Flint: “Shari Redstone shot back at CBS Corp. in court Tuesday, alleging that CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves gave the CBS board an ‘ultimatum’ that he would resign unless directors voted to strip her family of voting control.
“In a complaint filed Tuesday in the Delaware Court of Chancery, Ms. Redstone and her family holding company, National Amusements Inc., say that CBS’s action to strip National Amusements of voting control by issuing a dilutive dividend to all shareholders is invalid.” https://on.wsj.com/2IUwM0U
-- “Virginian-Pilot sold to Chicago-based publisher Tronc,” by The Virginian-Pilot’s Robyn Sidersky: “The cash purchase price was $34 million. … The Virginian-Pilot is the largest daily paper in Virginia. It was founded in 1865 and has a print Sunday circulation of 132,000.” http://bit.ly/2xmnjhr
-- Lauren Selsky started today as supervising producer in Australian Broadcasting Corporation News’ North America bureau based in D.C.
WEEKEND WEDDINGS -- OBAMA ALUMNI: Holly Shulman, communications director for the Center for Global Development and a DNC and Obama Treasury alum, on Sunday married Jonathan Tuzman, a professional pianist in Washington. Pool report: “The bride and groom walked down the aisle serenaded by Ben Folds Five, then exchanged self-written vows during a ceremony over which the bride’s father presided.” Pics http://bit.ly/2LCQ904 ... http://bit.ly/2H0oLp7 ... NYT announcement https://nyti.ms/2KYuhuT
SPOTTED: TJ Helmstetter and Mike Naple, Dave Solimini, Dan Herman, Lizzy Price, Morgan Finkelstein, Christina Freundlich, Josh Cohen, Lauren Weiner, Erica Sackin and Dave Stroup, Harrell Kirstein and Emily Cashman, Suzanne Elio, Sabrina Siddiqui and Russell Berman.
-- OBAMA ALUMNI: Bert Kaufman, head of corporate and regulatory affairs for Zoox and an Obama Commerce alum, married Zoé Friedland, a law clerk for Judge Christopher R. Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Wedding pics http://bit.ly/2sisMA0 ... http://bit.ly/2ISMs92 … NYT announcement https://nyti.ms/2L1a73F
SPOTTED: Chico Harlan, Patti Solis Doyle and Jim Doyle, Adam Parkhomenko, Jacob Freedman, Mark Murray and Sasha Johnson, Allida Black and Judy Beck, Tim Kentley Klay, Eli and Rachel Saslow, Bradley Beychok and Cassie Greer, Erin and Doug Weinstein and Ann Linder.
-- Matthew Anderson, SVP for public affairs at Blackstone and an Obama Treasury alum, married Elina Tetelbaum, an associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. NYT announcement https://nyti.ms/2GUoiF4
ENGAGED – Guy Benson, political editor of TownHall, a Fox News contributor and co-host of Fox News Radio’s “Benson and Harf,” got engaged in Versailles to his partner, Adam, who works at a nonprofit. Pics http://bit.ly/2kvozpj ... http://bit.ly/2LA1ONm
BONUS BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Francesca Chambers, White House correspondent for DailyMail.com, is 3-0. What she’s been reading recently: “I’ve returned to the classics and finally read Emily Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights.’ If you think that’s not exactly ‘light beach reading,’ you should have seen fellow vacationers’ faces last year when I whipped out Anna Karenina. ...” Q&A: https://politi.co/2xqBlPa